Waze in India will solve a lot of our daily driving troubles. Waze in India will be the perfect pill for Carmegeddon jams, random road digs or police checks which we face daily. Yet we do not adopt it
What is Waze? In short, if Google maps had dated Foursquare and went to start a family, cute Waze would be the result. Waze is a community based mapping, traffic & navigation app, 34 million strong as of end 2012. It’s estimated to touch 70 million Wazers (that’s how the community calls itself) by end of 2013. Users simply need to drive around with Waze navigation app open and passively contribute tons of real-time traffic & road info for that locality. If you are more of an active sort of person you can report accidents, traffic hazards, police and other events you see on the road. Other Wazers on your route will get alerts. Waze takes the engagement further by allowing you to upload petrol/ diesel prices at the petrol pump you just visited or ping a nearby friend. Waze will give you driving instructions to the cafe your friend is waiting at. There is a point system to reward active contributors. Waze uses “cupcakes” and other gaming tricks to further engage users. Drivers need to go over icons of cupcakes to earn points. The cupcakes are on the map where the Waze database is weak or not upto date. Smart move indeed to divert traffic to keep the map information updated.
You get stuck in traffic jams daily. To and from the office. To and from the mall. A truck breaks down and the whole road gets blocked as drivers try to overtake one another through the remaining side of the road. Our PWD wakes up to randomly close potholes (good that they are doing it) in the middle of the day with their heavy machinery. You get hauled by the police checking whether you have had a tipple too many or your pollution papers are out of date. You take a turn to the left on a weekend drive where the map shows there is a short cut, only to reach a dead end. All of these are scenarios which we average Indians have faced sometime or the other.
Waze aims to take away all this pain. As you ground to a halt due to morning traffic logjam, just update the same on Waze with a click of the button. All your friends/ colleagues can see it and try to avoid it. Not only that, you can find out your friends who are stuck in the same jam. There is nothing so soothing as cribbing about traffic when you are stuck in it with fellow sufferers. And what do we do today when we are stuck, we FB or tweet as it is. Use the same activity to benefit others. There is an FB connect on Waze now.
The best use case is the random VVVIP convoys which bring traffic to a grinding halt. You express yourself on Waze with this update. Only Waze can help out in this scenario by sending an alert about the location to all connected to you. For that matter what time a society gate closes at night can be shared.
Best Petrol Prices: Indian are obsessed with mileage and petrol prices. On Waze you can update the prices at the stations you visit. So if it makes sense for you and you are crossing the state border, you can fill it up at a lower priced petrol station. Just think of the boasting value you can get once you have done so.
Social: Like Foursquare you can add a place of interest. You can check in and let others know where you are (in case you want them to know about it and not when you skip office or a family function).
Waze to the rescue in Oklahoma
We have all read about the tornadoes tearing through Oklahoma in USA. There are electricity poles, trees blocking roads along with other debris. Water logging has caused slow traffic movement. In one particular place, a bridge has been destroyed by the Oklahoma Tornado . Wazers have updated the status real time to help traffic move smoothly even under a calamity of this scale. That is the true power of Waze. Waze in India can definitely contribute in post-disaster information sharing by the Wazer community.
Unfortunately when I switch on Waze in India I just see 1-2 friends in the country who are online. If you use an Android, iPhone, Windows mobile or RIM smartphone do give this app a try. It’s a refreshing change from the current maps. No wonder Apple and FB are wooing Waze to introduce this unique flavor in their own ecosystems.